It had to happen some time. And at least that time was
And for some, swiftly losing perspective, it turned out that it was a disgrace after all.
"I feel," announced the editor of the sports newspaper
Only it wasn't the World Cup final they wanted -- mainly because Spain didn't win it. Fifty-seven matches later, Spanish defender
By halftime, Spain was down 3-0 -- a situation
In fact, despite
For most, there was just one man responsible for a defeat that hurt more than anyone expected: Vicente del Bosque. Aware that it was just a friendly, he had decided that every member of his squad should get a game. He did not want players traveling halfway across the world to sit around and get bored; he decided that harmony and inclusion were important commodities. That meant no
It also meant defeat, said
"We were there to promote our World Cup bid for 2016, and that does excuse most things," Relaño wrote, hinting at perhaps the most important yet overlooked issue surrounding this game: Why has the Spanish Federation already forced the national team to travel all the way to Mexico and Argentina before the season has even gotten properly under way? "But," he added, "we gave away our prestige -- and you can't ever do that."
There is, most agreed, no such thing as a friendly against Argentina -- and all the less so if you are the world champions, because everyone really, really wants to beat you. The verdict was virtually unanimous: Spain approached the game like a friendly, Argentina didn't, and Del Bosque's team paid the price. Back in Buenos Aires, one newspaper was demanding that Spain "give the World Cup back."
But that's the thing. Yes, Spain lost prestige; yes, the result hurt. But it didn't lose the World Cup.
Not that everyone was listening. Time to start up the violins, the heart-wrenching music. Because if Spain hasn't lost the World Cup, it has lost the greatest reward of all: a little girl's love. No, really. Up in northern Spain, the president of the Cantabrian regional government, a man who just can't go a week without saying something silly about soccer, was ringing his hands. Like Helen Lovejoy in
"Why did you do this to our children?"